Though the U.S. economy is recovering, restaurant operators say cultivating customer loyalty remains challenging, the National Restaurant Association's 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast finds.
According to the Association's Restaurant Trends Survey, which was fielded in October, a majority of operators across all industry segments said that even though repeat customers made up a larger amount of their total sales in 2012 than they did the year before, maintaining customer loyalty is more difficult to maintain now than it was two years ago.
The survey noted that the trend is moving in the right direction, with repeat customers making up 71 percent of sales at quickservice restaurants, 68 percent of sales at fast-casual operations, 64 percent at casual-dining establishments, 63 percent at family-dining eateries and 51 percent at fine-dining restaurants.
"Restaurant operators today are much savvier about attracting repeat customers and maintaining their loyalty," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA's Research & Knowledge Group. "They are utilizing new technologies and tactics to engage, retain and enlarge a loyal customer base."